AstraZeneca voluntary vaccination programme to go nationwide

Interested parties who do not have access to the Internet for registration will be considered for future rollouts


THE AstraZeneca voluntary vaccination programme offered by the government is expected to be extended to other states including Sarawak should the state government revise their decision to opt out of the programme.

The programme has received an overwhelming demand in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor after all 268,000 slots were taken up in just three hours on Sunday.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access (Covax) Guarantee Special Committee will also take into account the registration process in future rollouts as the programme currently requires Internet access to make appointments.

“We are looking to roll out more AstraZeneca vaccines through the voluntary programme under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme as more supplies are coming in from the Covax facility and AstraZeneca plc itself.

“For future rollouts, we will consider interested parties who do not have access to the Internet for registration. We will get community clinics to assist with the process.

“For Sarawak, it was the state government’s decision to be excluded from the programme, but if they want to revise their decision, we are willing to accommodate the additional volume,” he told the press yesterday.

The Sarawak government had refused to distribute the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines at its special vaccine dispensing centres despite the opt-in option offered by the federal government.

Sarawak Local Council and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Sim Kui Hian said in his Facebook posting that Sarawak residents who want to get inoculated with the vaccine have to obtain it from other states.

Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party is also against the offer and has called upon the federal government to “stop using Sarawak as a dumping ground for rejected vaccines and second-hand goods”.

Khairy revealed yesterday that about 80% of the 8,000 Malaysians who cancelled their registrations via MySejahtera apps had registered again since the government introduced the voluntary option for the AstraZeneca programme.

“We will do a deep dive on MySejahtera to ensure that we can communicate better in the future. While we do our best to communicate, we also do not want to disrupt the immunisation programme.

“We want to ensure that the existing immunisation programme that utilises Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccine to proceed smoothly.

“In addition to the cancellation, we noticed people were not showing up to their appointments and that is a concern to us. That was the reason why we carved out AstraZeneca,” he said.

Khairy said Malaysia is expecting 1.1 million more doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to arrive this month from the Covax facility, 610,00 doses to arrive from the company in June, 410,000 doses in July and 1.2 million doses in August and September.